Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Monday, July 31, 2006
Everyone's Lazy in the Summer
My work computer is going sooooooo slowly today. I had a Commodore 64 with a 300 baud modem that used to work faster than this clunker is today.

Flourish

Monday Madness

1. Do you have a photo blog? If so, feel free to share the link with us!

I don't really have a photo blog, but there are many photos in the "Autumn Hollow" blog. Now that I have more webspace I hope to put up more photos on our domain site.

2. How many pets do you own, and what are their names? If none, have you had a favorite pet in the past?

Two. Willow is our Pomeranian/terrier cross (we call her our "Pom de terre" or "potato dog"; her vet calls her a "Georgia Haystack Terrier" <g>) and Pigwidgeon, a.k.a. "Pidge," is the budgie.

3. How many times a week does the carpet in your house get vacuumed? No carpet? How many times a MONTH do your floors get mopped?

Usually once a week, but I didn't do it this week with Pidgie having had to go to the vet; I didn't want to upset him.

4. Which room in your house do you spend the most time in?

Living, where the animals, television and computers are.

5. Have you read any good books lately?

Sure! I just finished Timeless Toys, about things like Scrabble, the Flexible Flyer, the Game of Life, etc. Many interesting things I didn't know, such as the precursor to Monopoly, called "The Landlord's Game," was actually supposed to show how evil the the acquisition of property and money was. I've also just finished Joe Wheeler's Christmas in My Heart #1.

6. What is your biggest source of news? (Newspaper? Television? Radio? Other?)

CNN.com and Foxnews.com. And occasionally the Providence Journal.

Flourish

"Every Dream is a Wish"
I always hear Allan Arbus' voice when I think of that line, from the M*A*S*H episode "Dear Sigmund."

I had a troubling, uncomfortable dream early this morning. I had just arrived at my mother's house and was prattling on to her and said something like "I packed so quickly I didn't even take a stuffed animal to sleep with." (Which was a weird line anyway since James was there, although he didn't say a word.) I then added, "Where's your Scotty? Oh, wait a minute--I brought it home when-" referring to the little stuffed Scotty dog we had brought my mom a few years back from the gift shop at the Boston Museum of Science. It was then I started stumbling over my words because I realized it was a dream and the finish to "I brought it home when-" would have been "...you died"; the Scotty is sitting on top of the television in the guest room. Thoroughly creepy.

Then my Dad entered the room and I started burbling on asking how he was and what he'd been doing. His reply was very cryptic.

Then the scene switched and there was an entire sequence with a friend and the friend's spouse which seemed to indicate some infidelity was going on in plain view of said spouse. I excused myself to check up on "a guest," actually another friend of ours in Oklahoma whom we have only talked to online. The rest of whatever house we were in was plain, but this guest room our friend was in was really done up in hideous style like one of those French salons from the 1800s with lots of dark green curliques and gilding on everything including a chandelier smack in the middle of the bedroom.

About then James woke me up asking if I wasn't going to work, since I had slept right through my alarm.

I'm still trying to puzzle out what it all meant, and the sight of Mom and Dad but knowing they weren't really there has made me slightly melancholy...

Flourish

» Saturday, July 29, 2006
Crazy Over Thread
While we were out this afternoon, we drove up to the Hobby Lobby in Acworth. It's larger and much better stocked than the one near us. James was looking for a new airbrush and found just the one he wanted, but it's $100.00 (and that's after a 40 percent off coupon!). So he's looking at options. I went happily looking at fall foliage and Christmas decorations, but first stopped at the cross stitch aisle and was delighted to find the new DMC Color Combination threads. These are not "varigated" threads, which are usually all of one color but in different shades, but have the look of hand overdyed threads in mostly analogous colors. They had two different boxes of colors and I was about to get one with a coupon when I thought, "Hey, why should I get pink threads when I hate pink?" (There are at least four pink skeins). So for now I picked the colors I liked. I'll probably end up with the pinks anyway, since I'm a completist.

Here's the Color Variations Color Card. I got

4130, of course, since it looks like oak and red maple leaves
4150, which looks like oatmeal or pale beach sand
4200, just because I like the reds
4220, beautiful pastel blues
4050, which looks like a lawn in spring
4140, chocolates and caramels
4240, purples and blues like a mountain twilight
and
4030, which looks like the sea

The samples on the web page don't do them justice.

Ah, here's a list of the thread numbers and their names:

4010 Winter Sky
4020 Tropical Waters
4030 Monet's Garden
4040 Water Lilies
4050 Roaming Pastures
4060 Weeping Willow
4070 Autumn Leaves
4080 Daffodil Fields
4090 Golden Oasis
4100 Summer Breeze
4110 Sunrise
4120 Tropical Sunset
4130 Chilean Sunset
4140 Driftwood
4150 Desert Sand
4160 Glistening Pearls
4170 Whispering Wind
4180 Rose Petals
4190 Ocean Coral
4200 Wild Fire
4210 Radiant Ruby
4220 Lavender Fields
4230 Crystal Water
4240 Midsummer Night

Chilean Sunset? Chilean sunsets look like autumn oak and red maple leaves???

Flourish

» Friday, July 28, 2006
Hope Is the Thing With Feathers
When I got home yesterday Pidge was still looking a bit rough. It almost looked as if he'd had some bleeding again. On the positive side he was not sitting squatted up with eyes half closed like a sick bird does, but he hadn't eaten a lot and was sitting straight up, like a meerkat on its hind legs. He looked uncomfortable. So I did as I'd planned to do anyway and called the vet to get an appointment for today.

By ten o'clock he seemed to have perked up a little, eaten a bit, was chirping. But he still looked a mess; dried blood all over both primaries and under his right wing where the blood feather was. I tried to wash it off some but he struggled so much that I quit and it didn't seem to make it any better.

James said thoughtfully before we went to bed, "It's a shame you have to manage him. I wish you could take Willow with you." When she'd had the moles removed and then the stitches taken out, they left a stitch in.

I took her with me anyway.

Pidgie looked more comfy this morning; instead of standing up like a meerkat he was in his usual position, relaxed with his feathers fluffing over his feet. He'd been preening on and off, but still looked wretched appearance-wise. However, he was in good spirits as I popped him in his carry box. Wil, as usual, was a nervous wreck in the car; she cried and whined all the way to the vet while Pidge gave her this "What is Sister going on about now?" expression.

The moment she was at the vet's office she kept trying to leave. I'd coax her toward me, say "sit, stay" and a second later she was heading for the door.

The tech eventually brought her in the back, removed the stitch, and returned her, in about three minutes. She acted like she was back from the wars. :-)

Then we went into the examing room: second verse, same as the first; I couldn't keep her away from the door.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mike and his assistant came in and Pidge was examined. He said they got the blood feather all out properly, then wrapped birdlet in a towel and washed his wing feathers off with peroxide so if there was any more trouble I could see it. Pidge cawed—it's the only way I can describe the sound he makes when you grab him—and bit at the towel and glared at everyone when he was placed back in his carry box, but he felt better and chowed down on his seed tonight as well as taking bites of both fruit pellets and millet. He's still very raggy looking and is on cage rest at least until Sunday, which annoys him now that he's feeling better.

Flourish

» Thursday, July 27, 2006
Interesting Times ... Again
There is something in birds called "a blood feather" and a broken one can be some trouble. It's caused by the growth of a new feather after the bird has moulted; more about it at PetEducation.com. It's usually not fatal if treated properly.

I have had birds since I was that proverbial "small tyke" and have never had one with a blood feather that broke. It's something I've read about but never seen.

Pidge has just gone through his summer moult and is dotted with pin feathers. When I got home Tuesday and was playing with him I noticed his left wing had a spot of rusty brown on it, half the size of a penny. He was in good condition, happy, and playful. I assumed he'd had a blood feather, it had bled a bit, and then he'd left it alone and it stopped.

Last night he was in the same high spirits and came to visit us both frequently as we worked on the computer. For some reason our DSL keeps dropping out and the modem does not alert us to the fact—the light's supposed to turn yellow—and we were complaining about that, especially me as I was designing a new graphic for our domain and was looking for a reference photo.

Then I heard Pidge flutter up behind me. A bird's wings make a certain sound when they're working fine and you get used to that sound; when it changes you look quickly to see what has caused the change. So I coaxed Pidge up to my finger and was terrified when I saw that his flight feathers on both wings were soaked in blood! He relentlessly preens after a moult and must have given a blood feather a good bite.

I had to grab him and then took him into the bathroom where the light was better. There was also blood on the feathers under his right wing, so I assumed the blood feather was located around the primaries of his right wing, but when I stretched out the wing I could not identify which of the feathers was actually bleeding.

So it was get dressed and rush to the emergency vet up on Cobb Parkway. Everyone was very nice and it simply involved lots of waiting and weeping until the doctor brought Pidgie back out looking rather subdued but not bleeding anymore. Everyone at the counter cooed over him and we brought him home and finally were able to stumble into bed after 2 a.m. I fell into a troubled sleep in which I dreamed the whole thing at the vet's office again (with different dialog) and checked on him at 6 a.m. (when I should have been getting ready for work); he blinked at me curiously and then I went back to bed for a couple more hours and then went into work.

I really didn't want to leave him, but did. I left him half covered and with a big sprig of millet so he can build himself up again after the blood loss (I've bled more from a scraped knee but he's a whole lot smaller to lose that much blood), and when I left he was attempting to clean the dried blood off himself (the vet didn't do it last night because she was afraid it was stressing him too much). I hope he doesn't go back near the spot where the broken blood feather was, but I can hardly keep him from preening even if I were there—it's part of their life and it would only make him neurotic and afraid if I kept scolding him for it.

So I'm here at work having my sandwich but my mind is about 24 miles away...

Flourish

» Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Wireless Rescue
From an Nantucket website: Jack Binns Becomes a Hero

What a great story.

Flourish

» Monday, July 24, 2006
Zowee! How Did THAT Happen?
Several months ago I found out a person that I corresponded with had a copy of a television special that I had seen in the 1970s and never again. I had an audio copy of the special, but not a video copy. She very kindly offered to make a copy for me sometime and today I received it, along with a couple of other things she thought I'd enjoy on two other DVDs.

Excitedly, I put one of the DVDs in my DVD drive of my computer. It didn't autostart, but homemade DVDs often don't. When I went to click the play button, the computer was frozen.

#$^$#@$!@!$# Windows! I pressed the button to eject the disk...and it wouldn't eject. I had to wait until I rebooted and then eject.

To make a long story short, I tried all three DVDs, several times, and it completely locked up my computer every time.

When James installed new hardware during the upgrade of my computer, he installed a program with the sound card that overrode my DVD settings, making this piece of software the default for DVDs. My DVD player came with Power DVD, which I prefer, so I went into preferences in this new DVD software and disabled the autostart for DVDs. I figured that perhaps the disks weren't playing because I had done this and this new DVD software was causing some type of play problem.

So I put one of the disks into my DVD recorder instead. The disc was a DVD-R and my unit records at -R, so I anticipated no trouble.

Instead, the disk completely locked up the DVD recorder, too, and I couldn't eject the disk, even following the instructions in the manual. I went crazy for about ten minutes, envisioning having to drag the unit to a repair shop to get the disk removed! Finally I managed to get the "gate" down and the eject button finally worked.

James agreed to try it on his computer and, after his DVD player wouldn't work because of the Windows 2000 upgrade, he downloaded new ActiveX files and the DVD finally played.

I still don't understand why the DVDs my friend made will not play on my machine nor on my DVD recorder. We have other "home burned" DVDs that play perfectly well on both.

Oh, the really bizarre thing that happened because these DVDs locked up? It erased every single one of my Firefox browser bookmarks! Zap, all gone. Thankfully I had duplicates of the important ones in Internet Explorer.

I have no idea how a DVD that won't play has any influence on your internet browser. Talk about one for the books.

Flourish

Candles on the Water
WaterFire Brings Magic to Providence Rivers

James and I saw one of these last year; I enjoyed it except for the music (their selections that night were terribly lugibrious), James was less impressed.

Our reaction was also probably colored by the mid-80 degree temperatures (even after dark) and humidity.

Flourish

Enjoyment's Not A Bowl of Cherries Anymore
Cherries have always been my favorite fruit, nice dark firm Bing cherries bursting with that special sweetness. I've been addicted to them since childhood, but they've always been expensive and confined to a certain season. We didn't have much of a budget for luxuries when I was a kid, and my mom would buy only a quarter or a half pound of cherries at the time and parcel them out a few a day so I could enjoy them.

One of the things I vowed as an adult was when it was cherry season I would buy as many as I liked and katy bar the door at the expense; I'd go without something else.

This worked fine until last year. I've always hated places that bagged their cherries—you have to take all those insipid bright red sour ones and the flabby overripe ones along with the good ones, so I'd go to Harry's Farmers Market and patiently pick through the big bins of cherries until I had a couple of pounds. Well, last year Harry's went to bagged cherries, too, and I wasn't sure if it was that, getting stuck with all those inferior ones, or if I was just too stressed over my Mom and whacking out my taste buds, but the Bing cherries last year were dreadful; even the firm dark ones were sour.

They are the same this year. I even got a chance to "pick my own" this year when Harry's again had a bin of cherries along with the bagged, but even the ones that in previous years would have been juicy and sweet are juicy and sour. What on earth are the nurseries doing to fruit? Even the Granny Smiths are going downhill; when I first started eating them years ago they were round like Macintoshes and so delightfully sour; now they have telltale signs that they are being interbred with other apples, especially those nasty mealy awful-tasting Delicious (what a misnomer!) apples and they're nowhere near as mouth-puckering delightful as they used to be.

Now the cherries are being ruined, too.

I finally gave up over the weekend and paid through the nose for a little over a pound of Ranier cherries, which are still firm and sweet. But, damn, I miss the Bings; it's just not the same.

Flourish

Monday Madness

1. I won't eat past eight o'clock in the evening.

Well, during the week anyway, since we have to go to bed so early. We don't usually eat supper until 7:30 or afterwards since James doesn't get home until seven.

2. My favorite subject for photographing is LOL; right now the house, but usually vacation .

3. I use Paint Shop Pro 5 most often to edit my photographs.

I have 9, too, but it's overkill sometimes for what I want to do. I have PhotoImpact as well, and can use James' copy of Photoshop 5 if I want a particularly interesting effect.

4. If I'm having trouble sleeping, I usually toss and turn a lot! I don't get up, just keep my eyes closed since they suffer the most during the workday .

5. When I'm hungry for a snack, I usually eat Special K cereal if we have some, or some cashews or a rice cake .

Flourish

» Sunday, July 23, 2006
Microslop Miseries
James tried to keep me busy yesterday and one of the places we went to was Fry's; they had a sale on the type of RAM both he and I use, so he bought one for each of us. I also found a Scrabble game and another disk of various arcade-type games.

He found a WWII sim game that required Windows2000, at least, so today before we went to a birthday party he loaded Win2000 on his computer (we're both still running Win98, having not really needed anything more advanced with the things we do; hey, I can get online, read e-mail, do web pages, use WordPerfect and Paradox and all my different graphics programs—who needs that honkin' disk-hogging WindowsXP with its 3-D graphics (b-b-b-big deal, to quote Porky Pig).

Well, he's been wrestling with the wretched thing all day. He had to re-install things like his video card and his sound card, which was complicated by the fact we couldn't find the driver CDs for them (when he upgraded his computer his motherboard and Win98 just picked up the slack and he didn't need them; ironically the eternally finicky network card worked just fine). We had cleaned out his CD-ROM collection before, but we did it again. Now everything is not only in its place, but we have a nice pile of games that looked good but didn't strike his fancy for the donation box.

Incidentally, we never did find the audio and video card CDs; James found them a little while ago in a box of computer parts he still had downstairs.

It doesn't matter; we managed to download the video driver from Invidia's site (I always think of season two of Star Blazers every time I hear their name...) and Win2000 still doesn't want to load the sound drivers. He keeps getting the infamous "blue screen of death" when he tries to use the driver CD. However, there were actually answers to the problem on Microslop's site! He found out he needed Service Pack #4 to solve the problem. He's downloaded it, installed it...

...and it still doesn't work.

At least we're not as bad off as a friend who downloaded with confidence the latest Microslop upgrade for WinXP.

It erased everything on her hard disk.

Nice job, Bill...

Flourish

» Saturday, July 22, 2006
Communing With Nature
Something rather neat happened today after we left the hobby shop: we usually come out a generally deserted back way that leads behind the store and to Powers Ferry Road. As we approached the intersection, what looked like a rock was in the road...except the rock was moving! It was actually a turtle about eight inches long crossing the road at a leisurely pace.

We swerved to avoid it, then I said, "You know, someone's going to hit it," and James turned the truck around and stopped at the side of the road. I hopped out and approached the turtle. It froze and started to put its head into its shell, until my hands were about an inch from its shell. I think it realized I was still after it. All of a sudden its little legs all came thrusting out of the shell and it started moving faster than I ever thought a turtle could move.

So I never did pick it up, just walked behind it until it scurried into the grass across the street and into a bush, away from the "monster," where I'd planned to set it anyway had I gotten to pick it up. Have no idea what he was doing out there (the hobby shop is not near any water, and James said it was not a tortoise), and maybe later on he came back out and still got run over by some idiot who didn't care about one little turtle.

But I tried..."one small thing."

Later tonight we were sitting watching a movie when Wil needed to go out. When James brought her back in, he said, "there's a beautiful sunset out here." I remember my mom talking about how she and my dad always watched sunsets together; she'd be washing dishes and if one was particularly pretty he'd call and say "Forget the dishes; you have to see this," and they'd stand outside or at the front door if it was cold and watch the sunset. So I paused the film and trotted downstairs and we stood on the front porch watching the sunset. I didn't think fast enough and by the time I got back down with the camera it was mostly gone. But it was mighty pretty, great daubs of orange and white splashed against a gradually darkening and then purple sky. But this is what was left:

late sunset

The front lawn looked so good that I took the opportunity to romp on it a few minutes in bare feet. Feels pretty good. Our "lawn guy," who is super, even fertilizes for us, so the grass is pretty lush despite the heat. Didn't dare do that on the old lawn; too many bare spots and weeds and the constant fear of stepping on a fire ant bed. Haven't seen one yet; not sure if the lawn was treated when the sod was laid or if they just haven't found the neighborhood yet!

Flourish

Anniversary
It's a year ago today that my mom died.

I was hoping to say something thoughtful or even profound.

I just hurt.

Flourish

» Friday, July 21, 2006
And...So What?
King of Queens Star: I've Seen Suri Cruise

What is with this whole thing anyway? So "Tom and Katie" don't want their baby photographed. It's their prerogative, isn't it? Lots of rumors running around: the baby's dead (huh? just because they don't want any pictures?), the baby's deformed (and...what? like they'd be ashamed if their child wasn't so-called "perfect"?), blah, blah, blah...

Sheeesh, people, get a life.

Flourish

» Thursday, July 20, 2006
July 20
Anniversary of the first landing on the moon, 1969.

NASA - Apollo

It may be time to watch "Spider" again. <wry grin>

Flourish

Thursday Threesome

::Cooked to Medium Rare::

Onesome: Cooked to?-- Okay, the easy one: if you're having grilled meat (steak/hamburger) this weekend, how would you like it cooked?

I want a nice T-bone, please, cooked medium rare and then smothered in sauteed onions. (James makes lovely onions, but he doesn't make them the way my mom did. She slowly cooked and cooked them in a little Mazola corn oil and when they were done they were soft enough to spread on the steak like peanut butter. Mmmmmnnnnn...)

Twosome: Medium-- to large? ...too large? What do you think of the big ol' plasma screen HDTVs available now? I mean, would you if you could?

The first time I saw a plasma, it was a 50 inch and I was bowled over. It looked like a movie screen. I don't think we could comfortably fit anything larger than 42 inches, though, and I don't want a plasma; I hear they give out after so many years. What I really want is an LCD—even better picture than the plasma, if you can imagine that.

Threesome: Rare-- Footage: one of the major news services recently announced they would make archived news coverage available for personal purchase on DVD. Is there any one piece/segment/area of old news (or new) you'd like to have on your bookshelf to view "whenever"?

Oh.my.God. I want all NBC's coverage of the space program/moon landings (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo), complete with their neat music. (I'd take CBS's coverage with Cronkite, too, but I grew up on the NBC coverage.) I mean...Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Frank McGee...man! Does anyone, anywhere, have a fan page or salute or pictures or something about the moon coverage????

And even though I don't want commercials, could I just have one as an extra—the Exxon "Bantry Bay" commercial, please, just for the song???? (And now I'm wondering...was it Exxon? Maybe it was Gulf. But I do remember the song.)

(Oh, gad, imagine watching it all on a 42 inch LCD...)

How far back does this "archived news coverage" go? Does it include newsreels? Do they have the Kennedy assassination coverage? John Glenn? Sputnik? Stuff about the Andrea Doria? Hurricane Carol? Gulp...the Hurricane of '38?

Flourish

» Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Ye Gods...
...it's bedtime and it's still 86°F.

Flourish

» Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Tuesday Twosome

1. What are two ways you find relief from the summer heat? Explain:

Air conditioning and air conditioning (and the fan under my desk at work). (Actually, it's only 79°F at my desk today, somewhat lower than it's been.)

2. Is it generally warmer or cooler where you live this summer? Explain:

Well, it's Georgia. It's hot. Nothing much I can do about it but retreat under the A/C, since this is where my job is. Judging from the weather reports, it's bad everywhere. My dream home location used to be New Hampshire. Now I think I want to be "a sourdough" like Dr. Dutton in The Andromeda Strain. :-)

3. On a hot summer day, would you rather go to the pool or to the mall (air-conditioned)? Explain:

I'd rather sit in the spare room where it's cool and use the exercise bike and watch DVDs, or sit on the futon and read a book (or take a nap, since it's cool). Of the two, the mall is preferable; not as much work getting ready and there are fewer people. (And no kids splashing water at you.)

4. If you could be on vacation this week, would part of your decision-making be based on the weather? Explain:

Yes. Like I wouldn't go on vacation at this time of the year if I didn't have to.

5. Name two cities you believe have the best weather and two cities with the worst weather year-round:

Well, San Francisco's nice, despite the fog. Unfortunately even Boston's too hot at this time of year. The worst? Anything in Florida...oh, yeah, and the Southwest.

Flourish

» Monday, July 17, 2006
Monday Madness

What comes to mind when you think of the following colors?

RED: Fire trucks (it was all those Saturdays watching Emergency! at Sherrye's house)

BLUE: "...skies, smiling at me. Nothing but blue skies do I see..."

GREEN: grass, especially after reading Mary O'Hara

YELLOW: sun, and too much of it out there

PURPLE: twilight (or mountain majesties, if you prefer)

PINK: UGH

ORANGE: fire

BLACK: Beauty (well, it was one of the first books I ever read...)

WHITE: snow...snow...snow..."Snow...it won't be long before we'll all be there with snow...Snow...I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow..."

Flourish

"Oh, Yes, You'll Return, You'll Really Return..."
Big Dig Safety Worries Boston Visitors

Three types of people drive in Boston: the ones who have to, the crazy people, and the tourists. To the last the advice is simple: park somewhere and take the T, for God's sake. Boston's public transportation takes you anywhere a tourist would want to go.

Flourish

Welcome Home, Discovery!
Great POV shot from the cockpit, looking down at the clouds and then through them to the runway. Wow, is it hazy in Florida!

Flourish

» Sunday, July 16, 2006
Summer Sour
My attendance here has been spotty—sorry, summer is doing a real number on me this year. My sensitivity to the heat has increased year by year. Lots of problems this week. All that moving and lifting and packing and unpacking bothered me little in the cold of the year, but the moment it got warm my body rebelled. But damn, it's hot. The last gallon of milk in the fridge even soured, and it was just the sell-by date. (In a cold fridge in an air conditioned house!)

Friday I tried something different hoping I would be cooler going outside, but it didn't work and I ended up spending half of my day off lying down in the spare room where its coolest. Did manage to clean the bathrooms and get laundry done, at least. Bother.

Flourish

» Friday, July 14, 2006
Cool!
LOU GRANT Internet Resource & Archive

Had to go look up what Jack Bannon was up to these days. Had a crush on that man for years.

Flourish

They Come In Threes :-(
Comedian Red Buttons Dead at 87

I remember those Friar's Club roasts; they were uproariously funny. It's when Dean Martin started doing them as a regular series that they lost their gleam, since they had to find people to roast that were not notables.

One of my favorite Buttons' roles was as the newspaperman in Five Weeks in a Balloon, even if it was rather a cheap Journey to the Center of the Earth-type knockoff.

He's also one of the parachutists on D-Day in The Longest Day, as the real-life soldier who became trapped in a church bell tower, tangled on his parachute cords, a target for German snipers, and did very well in the role.

Flourish

» Thursday, July 13, 2006
Now That's Italian!
Grrr! Talkin' Like a Soprano - Mike Straka

I get a great kick out of Straka's "Grrr!" column even when I don't agree with it. Just found this one where he complains about people supposedly imitating the Sopranos actors in pronounciation:
Mozzarella cheese becomes Mozzarell, but it's pronounced "Moots-a-Rell," and all of a sudden they're speaking so loudly in a newly formed baritone they may as well call it "Moots-a-Yell."

Prosciutto di Parma becomes "prashoot-dee-parm," and "at $24.99 a pound, it better be da-best prashoot you ever seen."

Manicotti is "Mani-Got" — not sure where the G comes from there. Escarole loses its front E so it's "scarrrrole" — make sure to roll the Rs. And gnocchi is "neeyawk," naturally.

Antipasto? You got it, "antiPast" — don't forget to pop the P.
Needless to say Mr. Straka received lively feedback about this column—and acknowledged it, too—from Italo-Americans.

Initially I couldn't figure out what he was complaining about because that's always the way I heard the words pronounced. Italy is full of dialects—my Mom, whose parents was from the island of Ischia off the coast of Naples, said when she first met my Dad's mother, she had trouble understanding her even though they were both speaking Italian, since Dad's family was from "up north," Quarchina, near Rome—and the words are "chopped off" like that. I still feel silly going into Harry's Farmers Market and asking for a quarter-pound of "mor-ta-del-la," as in Rhode Island it's always "mooth-a-dell."

(The "Mozz" in "Mozzarella" is probably pronounced "Moots" because in Italian "Z" is not pronounced with that buzzing sound like here in the U.S., but like "ts" as in the sound at the end of "Mott's" like the apple juice.)

The most infamous of Italian swear words, "the Queen Mother of dirty words" as Jean Shepherd referred to it, is also similarly "mispronounced" as "ah-fangool" or "fangool-la." The actual word is "va fanculo" ("Go [va]...well, you know—the "La" is the "yourself" part of the phrase; Italian has two forms of "you," "tu" which is for friends and "La" which is for authority figures and older people). "Shut up" in Italian is properly spelled "sta zitto." I always heard it as "sta-tha zeeth." (All I know is that neither work on the dog...LOL.)

And there's of course "pasta fazool," which is properly spelt "pasta e fagiole" (or "macaroni and beans," which is what it is).

Incidentally, I don't watch The Sopranos—have no idea why people want to watch a show about criminals—but it drives me nuts when the television announcers talk about the "So-prannnnn-os." It's "So-prah-nos," guys. Get with the program. :-)

Flourish

A Jungle Out There
Monk Struggles to Cope With...Everything

Adrian Monk and a porta-potty. That one should be ::cough:: interesting.

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Thursday Threesome

::Entertainment: Music and Movies::

Onesome: Entertainment- What's your chosen form of entertainment in your time off? Do you go to the movies, a concert or just sit and read or indulge in your hobbies?

Reading with some music on. I did that yesterday, although I have to admit the reading was online! After that, watching DVDs and cross-stitching.

Twosome: Music- What's your choice for musical entertainment? Classical, rock, pop, hip hop, a little bit of everything or something completely different? Do you have a favorite band/singer? If you could see anyone, alive or dead, perform live, who would it be?

The real answer is: Christmas music (the non-rock kind). I was listening to some instrumental Christmas music yesterday to cheer me up. July 22 is fast approaching and I'm feeling rather down. ::sigh::

Anyway, non-Christmas I like Big Band and certain New Age. My favorite singers are Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Rupert Holmes. And if I could see anyone, alive or dead, it would be Perry Como doing a Christmas concert. I miss his annual Christmas shows from different places in the world.

Threesome: and Movies- What's on your "must see" list right now? Do you actually go out to the movies or prefer to wait for the DVD?

Movies? What are movies? Oh, yeah, we saw Narnia last year. Most of the time we prefer to wait for the DVD. Lassie is coming out in September; maybe I'll take in a matinee. Or not. The British DVD is already out. Everybody's rushing to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean, but I wasn't that crazy about the first; not sure what James thought. SFX were good. Never been much for pirate movies and not much of a Johnny Depp fan. We have the DVD...maybe I ought to watch it over.

Rather watch the rest of Wild Wild West or Hogan's Heroes, though.

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» Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Two Thespian Treasures Lost
Actor Barnard Hughes Dies at 90

I remember Hughes in many wonderful roles and several television series, including Doc, where he played an irascible GP, and even the unbelieveably silly Mr. Merlin, where he was Merlin the magician, a.k.a. Max Merlin the garage owner who was trying to pass his baton on to mage-talented but feckless Zack, played by Clark Brandon.

But I think my favorite Hughes role was his portrayal of Walter Rhenquist, the cantankerous coot who allows Addie Mills to ride his horse and finally unbends his heart to her in The Thanksgiving Treasure.

Actress and Spokeswoman June Allyson Dies

My gosh, she was only six months younger than my mom. I always liked June Allyson. She thought she was funny-looking, and maybe against Hollywood standards of beauty, she was. But I always loved her. In the movies I saw her in she was a "regular girl," spunky and strong. She is about the only thing good about the 1949 version of Little Women, which was terribly miscast in several roles (Elizabeth Taylor as an Amy older than Beth was pretty bad). She plays the stalwart service wife in several movies, including James' favorite, Strategic Air Command, and makes this relatively dull role memorable.

Half the comments today I have found on the web about Allyson twitted her for the Depends commercials; some were extremely rude. It's always easy to make fun of people's infirmities when you aren't the one going through them. Let's see them horselaugh in the future, when they're old and incontinent and need some protection themselves.

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And This Surprises Them...How?
CNN.com - TV has Lowest-Rated Week Ever

Given that it's summer and there's nothing new or good on anyway (save for Monk, if you're a fan of the series), what did they expect?

I've actually watched some cool stuff on television so far this week: last Friday's Monk, new eps of Jeopardy, Animal Precinct stories I had not seen before, and a new Antiques Roadshow and History Detectives. But then those things don't get ratings, do they? Just the crud the networks dish out.

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» Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Wavering Temperatures
Sunday's "Cathy" comic strip was about the ladies of the office who have to wear winter clothing to work under their light dresses because the thermostat is set to "freeze" by the guys who are stuck sweltering in long-sleeved shirts and suit jackets to be "business appropriate." Now "Stone Soup" seems to be doing a sequence about Val's office being cold because the ladies in accounting are suffering from hot flashes. Har-har. Her comment today is "Can't they take drugs?" Gee, honey, no, not when we've had cancer.

(People think hot flashes are just being "a little warm." It's much more than that. It feels as if someone's turned on a sunlamp with the equivalent temperature of Death Valley on your head and shoulders. Not only that, but because blood vessels are involved in the process, they also make you feel ... well, weird. Sometimes dizzy or smothery or both. A lady on a discussion group I'm in said that the first time she had a hot flash she thought she was having a heart attack. Sometimes its scary. It's certainly not "just a little warm.")

I'm not asking it to be cold in here, either. 75°F would be just fine; a few degrees cooler even better. It's the 82°F with no air circulating that I have trouble with.

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Tuesday Twosome

1. Do you avoid watching TV or reading fashion magazines because they make you feel unattractive? If so, why do you feel this way?

Good heavens, I don't need to watch TV to know I'm fat and frumpy! Boy, that would be denial, wouldn't it? My complaint with the standard of "beauty" these days is that models used to be slim and happy. Now they are bony and sullen. I mean, I know they make them wear the ugliest stuff ever created as they stalk down that runway, but do you have to scowl about it, too?

Fashion magazines. You mean like "Vogue" and all that? Boring. Would rather read "American History" or "Early American Life."

2. Name two people that you know love you for just being you and nothing else:

James. And my godmother, I hope!

3. Name two people whose inner beauty outshines their outer beauty:

Er, just two? All those folks that help in disasters, or volunteer, or are nurses or firemen or policemen. They outshine "Brangenlina" any day.

4. Name two people you have prejudged wrongly before getting to know them:

Er. I don't know anyone like that.

5. Name two people that have greatly positively influenced your life:

My mother and my father, of course.

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Doggedly She Continues
When I got home yesterday Willow had pulled all the books down and pushed the CD basket out again. She met me at the top of the stairs in abject apology. Sigh.

Last night we put two dining room chairs up against the Expedit. She didn't get out.

She pee'd on the carpet in front of the kitchen instead. Double sigh.

[N.B. 8:15 a.m. Never mind, James tells me she did get out. She climbed on top of the hassock that was blocking the cube opening closest to the wall, excavated the basket from the cube opening at that level, and squeezed out behind the metal panel of his computer desk. He put the box to his boombox up against it to block it; I'd wondered why it was there this morning. Three chairs tonight. I'm not having a stupid empty box sitting in my dining room in perpetuity simply because the dog wants to sleep on the sofa.]

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» Monday, July 10, 2006
Dog Wars
Yep, she's at it again. This time Willow pushed the board away from the back of the open cube and James discovered her on the sofa again. He rolled the hassock that has some of the games inside it in front of that particular cubicle and we thought that had ended it. Willow was still "in her room" when we got home yesterday.

Last night as we were having trouble falling asleep anyway—the new neighbors across the street apparently had some type of housewarming and played loud music till past midnight (Digression: why is it that people these days insist on forcing you to listen to their music? This seems to cross all lines. Okay, you're having a party and you play music. Does this mean you have to keep your garage doors wide open and blare the music out in the street to the point where others can hear it through closed windows and over whatever air conditioning and fans are running?)—we heard a crash from the other room. We thought Willow had knocked the baby gate over and that would mean she had also knocked over the floor lamp.

But all that was intact. Then I noticed that one of the cookbooks was on the floor.

Having failed to get out through all of the four bottom openings on the Expedit, Willow had started on the next row up, pushing cookbooks out of her way to get through. On the opposite side of the cookbooks there was a basket full of CDs containing computer software. It was that which had been pushed out and crashed to the floor.

James crated her for the rest of the night. We don't like to do that; the only time we want her to be crated is on trips or if we are doing something in the house we don't want her to get into because it might be dangerous. She should be able to get up and have a drink in the middle of the night, or even eat a little.

Short of putting some type of ugly barrier up against the Expedit, not sure what to do now. Wish I knew what was upsetting her; she's slept on her own for eight years now, and had no problems sleeping in the place she's in until two weeks ago. Can it actually be the Weimaraner? Saturday evening we were on the porch replacing the suet in the bird feeder and he was outside in the yard and from the deck Willow barked at him fiercely. Can she be so defiant one day and so frightened the next?

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Monday Madness

1. What is your favorite framed object in your house?

The autumn road print that is over our fireplace. I could wish the trees were brighter, but it's mighty pretty just the same. (It's a country lane curving away from the viewer's POV, surrounded by trees heavy with autumn leaves. In the background you can see a river.)

2. If you had a choice of being a carnivore or a herbivore, which one would you be, and why?

I loathe most vegetables, so I guess carnivore, but they have to hunt constantly to get food and sometimes go hungry. I've actually thought I'd love to be a horse because I always liked to run and it would be incredible to be able to gallop like the wind. So maybe a herbivore so I could be a wild horse.

3. Who do you think should have won the FIFA World Cup? Or, don't you care?

Don't watch team sports, although if I had to watch, soccer wouldn't be bad. Actually, I think a game of Quidditch would be really fun; pity it only exists in books!

4. What's your feelings on stormy weather?

I don't mind, although in the winter, days upon days of wet cold rain is pretty much a drag. I prefer snow. Incidentally, we haven't had all that much rain here, but there are mushrooms growing on our front lawn!

5. Do you believe in "time out" chairs?

I think time outs are definitely worth it in certain circumstances. It should be somewhere where a kid is bored. If you send them to their rooms they have all these gadgets; how is that a punishment?

6. Have you ever bought or sold anything on Ebay?

Never sold, bought lots. Most of my bound copies of St. Nicholas are from e-Bay and there's about 100 of those, plus there's Fireworks for Windy Foot and several other books.

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» Sunday, July 09, 2006
"Long, Long Trail A'Winding..."
We drove up to Anderson, SC, today, to the Russell Stover outlet store. It takes us about the same time to get there as it does to James' mom's house in Warner Robins. They sell the Russell Stover sugarless candy packages in various stores here, but it's always the same three flavors and James was hoping for a little more variety. We bought several packages of three other flavors that aren't sold around here; also a case of 10 packages of the peanut butter cups for $3, making them 30 cents each. (They are about $2 per package retail.) This will last us until November when (knock on wood) we go by there on our way home from vacation.

On the return leg we stopped at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Commerce since they had a Reebok store. We almost didn't make it there before they closed: first we stopped at Book Warehouse. These places are variable on book quality, but this one had some great choices. So I am presently with new books again, along with Road Trip USA and Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii, which I bought yesterday: I found You: An Owner's Manual, which I understand is a good health reference; Ralph Helfer's Zamba, Paul Ford's Companion to Narnia, which is the definitive guide to the books; a volume of Robert Heinlein short stories that are not in his Future History series; and a travel book called Historic Walks in Old Boston, which is full of wonderful historical goodies. James got three books and picked up a Christmas present for a friend, so had four in total. The books were buy four, get one free, so he also got another book for me, one I was looking at at the last minute, a British annual called The People's Friend Annual 2003. "People's Friend" is apparently a Scots magazine that contains recipes, household hints, and little romantic or uplifting stories. It looked kinda neat.

We also found a Christmas shop going out of business because it was moving to South Carolina, so for $20 I got some adorable items: three small ornaments (a fox, an owl, and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer on a jingle bell); a dog ornament that reminded me of Willow (it had its food bowl in its paw); a collie ornament that I'm using as a statue, and four fall-themed ornaments that are now in the foyer: two autumn angels with maple leaves for wings, a bird sitting on a berry, and a moose made out of various fall things: an acorn muzzle, a ruff of autumn leaves, branches for legs, etc.

We then decided to go to the Denny's diner before we crossed the freeway and went to the shops on the other side, where the Reebok outlet is. It was then only four o'clock and we had plenty of time to eat and then get to the store before it closed at six. Well, it took us over 45 minutes just to get served! James and I, plus a man at another table who still had a four-hour drive ahead of him were getting pretty ticked until the waitress explained that they had had a rush of customers earlier, 22 orders in all, and the two cooks took that opportunity to walk out on them!

But we did make it to the Reebok outlet and—oh, my stars and whiskers!—they actually had my shoes!

[skip this if you've heard my shoe rant before] I have small feet, but they are wide and have a high instep. I wore 5 1/2 wide Hush Puppies for years and then went to 6 wide while Hush Puppy still made them. Then HP decided that women with feet that small couldn't possibly have wide feet and discontinued W in small sizes. To wear a Hush Puppy now I have to get a 6 1/2 medium and the heels always feel like they are falling off my feet. Nothing I have ever tried in a woman's shoe fits me properly; they hurt and leave blisters and then corns on my toes. I hate buying shoes because of the trouble I have finding ones to fit. Usually I come out of a shoe store without shoes and frustrated and angry.[done]

What fit me best are Reebok classic all-leather shoes in what used to be called a boy's shoe; they are now large "kids sizes." They are wider and have a taller instep than a women's wide shoe (I tried the 6W women's shoe on again today and even with the laces loosened the insteps hurt and they were not as wide as the kids shoe; the 6 1/2 instep hurt, too, and the back of the shoe fell off my heel.) Last time we went to the Tanger Outlet south of Atlanta, they had none of these shoes. Weekends were really starting to hurt my feet, because I stretched and abused my weekend Reeboks when we moved, and I couldn't find a replacement pair.

Well, we found five pairs of the 5 1/2 size kids shoe, in black, which I wanted, in Commerce. I bought four of them. (Heck, when you finally find what fits you, buy them!) The kids shoe is $20 less than the woman's shoe, despite the fact that it is the same style, and they were buy one, get the second half price, so they cost me less than $100. I have put two of them away and will wear two of the new ones to work. The black ones are very handsome and look a little like plain black Oxfords which are quite appropriate at work. By alternating the old two pairs, they have lasted longer than one pair would have. I will take the old pairs and alternate them on weekends.

This is a great relief to my toes!

There was construction on the freeway heading home, so it took us about 45 minutes longer to get home than it should have. Yeesh.

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Sibling Rivalry, Willow and Pidge Style
"Brother! Get off Daddy's shoulder now!"

Willow barks at Pidgie

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» Saturday, July 08, 2006
How Many Days Until Christmas?
I joined the forum at The Christmas Place yesterday and they were mentioning that the new Hallmark catalogs were out already, with the initial premiere of this year's Keepsake Ornaments on the 15th. I wanted to see if (1) I could get a catalog, (2) look around a Bombay Company because I think they have a curio shelf I might want, and (3) snoop around to see what they are doing to Cumberland Mall. They have been doing "an Extreme Mall Makeover" for several months now, to be finished in the fall: lots of plants, glass, vistas, and new restaurants (including a Maggiano's) coming up.

Well, nothing much to look at now and they no longer have a Bombay Company. I used to love Cumberland because they had the best-stocked BDalton ever, but that closed several years ago, and I haven't been to Waldenbooks since they got rid of the Preferred Reader program. So we did a pass of the pet store—my gosh, they are breeding their budgies to be dwarves; they had a couple of baby budgies that weren't much larger than big finches—and then wandered past American Greetings, which already had their Carlton line of ornaments out.

Their "New Home" ornament for 2006 was a holly wreath with birds on it. Not only that, but the birds were my favorite wild birds in the world, chickadees.

Yes, of course I have it. :-) (James bought it, along with their astronaut ornament.)

We got their catalog and the Hallmark one. Some good stuff this year, but I think most can wait until the 40 percent off sale after Christmas, except for one: there's a reproduction of an old-time "tombstone" radio that plays five different "stations" which supposedly has some Christmas music, a timecheck, and a nostalgic commercial!

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One Thing Leads to Another...
The Dog Part:

When we left our story of the Amazing Escaping Terrier, Willow had confounded our attempts to keep her corralled in the dining room/kitchen by pushing things out of the way and crawling out through whatever bottom space of the Expedit room divider looked promising. The squares are alternately filled with cookbooks and other things. The four cubes at the bottom have games in three blocks and cooking magazines in the fourth. The games have been either stacked up upon themselves or in a basket, and the magazines just held up with a bookend. Wil has respected the barrier since we moved in, but since the neighbors with the Weimaraner moved in next door, she doesn't want to stay in the dining room/kitchen in the daytime or at night. I come home from work and find her wandering around or sleeping on my place on the sofa. At night we're woken up by the jingling of her collar as she wanders around in the living room. She's kept regularly bathed and if I wasn't allergic to her I wouldn't care a whit that she was sleeping on the sofa or even if she came to sleep in our bed. But the allergy precludes that, and also sometimes she forgets herself and relieves herself on the carpet.

All I can figure is she thinks the "big slavering short-haired floppy-eared wolf" is going to come after her and wants to be somewhere safe. We blocked the magazines and the games last night and it worked, but this afternoon she pawed the basket with the smaller games out of the way to get out. So last night we bought two canvas cube containers to put the games in and fill the space more fully. Plus we purchased four clear magazine holders to put the cooking magazines in/block that hole. There was one opening left, but it was blocked with a stack of games and led directly to a metal panel at the back of James' computer desk which we thought would block her way.

Evidently not. She pawed the games out and crawled through anyway and there she was outside the gate this morning.

We had a heavy piece of pressed cardboard and put it at the back of the gap. It worked; she was still in when we got home this evening, but she had pawed the games out trying to get out.

Ikea sells a box that exactly fits into one of the Expedit openings, the Lekman. Guess we'll just have to get one of those for that last opening. (Oh, twist my arm! Force me to go back to Ikea...)

The Seashore Part

By July it's usually pretty miserable around here: temps in the high 80s into 90s, little wind, smoggy and thick air. But yesterday we had a day that was, for July, delightful: it was only high 70s and there was quite a brisk breeze. It was like being down at the seashore. In fact, when I drove to lunch yesterday and stopped at the corner of LaVista and Clairmont Roads, I thought I was hallucinating: I could swear I smelled sea breezes. James says there is some type of retaining pond down there and probably all I had scented was that small body of water, but darn, I could almost smell the brine and the sand!

It must have stuck in my mind because, sleeping late this morning, I had the most delightful dream. I don't have very good dreams any longer and haven't for years. James wakes up some mornings with delightful narrations about flying airplanes or competing in adventure games or doing something absurd. The nicest of my usual dreams is cleaning the bathroom, scrubbing a floor, or finding ants crawling around the house. Most of my dreams involve being trapped in small, dark, enclosed places and I wake up screaming and not knowing where I am.

But this morning I had a lovely dream: we had moved into a seaside house and had decorated the front yard with small concrete statues of animals, and then went for a drive down the beach. I had my head out the window and was breathing in the sea air deeply. It was all in vivid color, blues and browns and golds.

If I could have turned over and gone back to it, I would have, but instead I got up.

For lunch we went to Red Lobster...

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Friday Five (same excuse, different verse)

1. When you were a child, what was your favorite game to play?

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors it was children's Scrabble. Outside it was tag. Hard to tell by looking at me now, but I was the fastest girl in fifth grade. Actually, my favorite game when I was a child was when I was on my own, acting out adventure stories which I had written. I got to be all the characters, including the good ones like Lassie.

2. What is your favorite game to play right now?

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors: Uno! Outdoors: Miniature golf. My favorite place to go on vacation was always Lake George, because at one time they had four miniature golf courses.

3. Can you share a good story about playing with others or yourself?

::cough:: Can we rephrase that first? "Can you share a good story about playing with others or BY yourself?"

And now that I've corrected that, I really don't have a good story.

4. What do you do for play-time fun now?

Well, I'd love to play more miniature golf, especially since we have coupons, but it's too hot out right now. Maybe in October, when the weather is better, or if we have a cool spell.

5. If you were able to invent a game, what would you call it?

Naptime! :-)

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Thursday Threesome (late because I just haven't had the time)

Sarah's doing inventory tonight:

::Counting Pots and Pans::

Onesome: Counting-- Do you ever have to do any form of inventory work? ...and you think what sorts of thoughts about it? Students, you aren't out of this one: what about book returns and such?

Not now, but when I worked at Trifari (jewelry factory) I was in the shipping room and we helped do inventory twice a year. Each person was assigned a bin. A bin held 48 wooden trays. If you were lucky you got bangle bracelets or earrings or something else bulky/on a plastic card. Even with earrings they usually couldn't fit more than 700 to a tray. If you were unlucky you got chain necklaces, or even worse, chain bracelets. There could be up to 10,000 chain bracelets on a tray. When you finished a bin a spotter would come behind you and count three random trays. If all three were wrong you had to count the entire bin again.

Thank God I never had to recount a bin. I used to have to watch myself counting because I had a bad habit of skipping from 69 to 80 or from 79 to 90. Numbers and I didn't get along.

This gave me a new appreciation for religion: I now know what Hell is like; it's eternal Inventory. And your spotter always finds three incorrect trays...

Twosome: Pots-- Do you/have you ever done any outdoor or camping cookery? How did it go? ...any tips for the gang?

Outdoor? Camping? Me? I might have been a camping fan and less wary of bugs had I been allowed to go camping as a child. That's where we pick up most of our habits. But I had allergies and wasn't allowed to go to camp.

Threesome: and Pans-- What one pan could you simply not do without in the kitchen. Mark can maybe slide on this one, but I'm betting his deadpan humor will come up with something...

Pans? Cooking? :-) James does the cooking. James?

"My 12-inch nonstick fry pan."

There you have it.

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» Thursday, July 06, 2006
[hands on hips]
Hugh Laurie's not nominated for an Emmy? Well, so much for me watching...

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» Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Monday Madness (late 'cause it was <g>)

1. Have you ever traveled outside of your own country?

Yes, I've been to Canada several times: what was left of Expo '67 in 1969, the city of Quebec a couple of times, and to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (it's lovely; Niagara-on-the-Lake is particularly pretty) and Canada's Wonderland.

2. If you could be any animal, which animal would you be, and why?

A dog in a good family, 'cause I envy Willow getting to sleep late! :-)

3. Do you read manga?

No. I have some Space Cruiser Yamato Perfect Albums at home, but that's about it.

4. Are you doing anything special to celebrate Independence Day?

We did. We had a party. James got disappointed, though; he didn't get to shoot off the fireworks he bought.

5. How many memes do you participate in regularly?

Four.

6. How much is a gallon of gasoline where you live? Have you cut down on your driving since the prices have gone up?

Regular was $2.87 at the Marathon station I got gas at this morning. The Shell station further on was at $2.94. Afraid most of my gas goes to commuting 280 miles to work and there's not much I can do to shorten the distance. No one else works my compressed schedule, either.

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Friday Five (late because real life took priority)

1.) What fandom do you center on most?

I'm not sure I'm in any organized fandoms anymore. I belong to a House group, still have my Remember WENN site and belong to that group, watch any number of programs that have fandoms, but I don't think I really center on anything anymore (except improving my Lassie website when I can). Maybe that's the answer there. :-)

2.) Do you contribute to it much (write fanfiction, draw fanart, participate in online communities and discussions)?

See answer above. Yes, I've done fanfic in that category. Most of my fanfic was written around WENN. I also have fanfiction I dug up at my mom's: some Star Blazers stories, the Trapper John M.D. story that was published in "The Gregory Harrison Journal" (I wasn't much of a Gonzo fan, but I got the opportunity to base the protagonist of the story on comedian Dave Allen, so I'm particularly fond of that story), and another Trapper John effort that never saw print, about Trapper meeting Frank Burns at a medical conference. I did fan art a long time ago—sold a picture of Jack the dog from Tales of the Gold Monkey for a tidy profit at Omnicon in 1983.

3.) Do you think that such things are good or harmful to the fandom and why?

I think fan fiction and fan art keep the show alive in the public. I don't mind when writers explore different facets of a character, but it bothers me when they make really wild changes, like making a guy who has always been steadfastly heterosexual enter in a same sex relationship. If a relationship the character might be interpreted that way, it's interesting to explore it, but 180° turns just don't seem right.

4.) Do you think its good or harmful for the original creator?

Most of the creators will say harmful, but I don't think it is. Many writers of books allow people to "play in their universe," too.

5.) Why do you like this fandom in particular?

Which? I really enjoyed WENN fandom because I'm a 1930-1940s fan and the setting fit in perfectly; it was just providential that the characters were so marvelous as well!

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Ye Yearly Fireworks Rant
CBS is crawling so slowly back to the halcyon days of WCVB/A&E coverage that we might get a decent Boston Pops coverage in about 100 years (if that soon). They continue to concentrate more time on the fireworks and less on the crowds—since the crowd is there to watch fireworks and not other people in the crowd, why in Sam Hill does CBS think their viewers would be interested in watching the crowd???—but it's annoying the way they have made the Boston Pops change their program (it used to be all the artists and patriotic songs and readings at the "front," then the "1812 Overture" followed by the fireworks; now the so-called "stars" get to perform again after the "Overture" because CBS chooses to broadcast only the final hour of the concert).

This year we folks in the Atlanta area got cheated out of a good deal of the fireworks because the local CBS station always broadcasts the annual fireworks show from Lenox Mall. It's one of those times where I wish we got a dedicated network feed instead of the local channels that Dish has to provide because of the local advertisers whining about loss of revenue. The Lenox show has music nicely choreographed to the fireworks, but that's about it: their fireworks are strictly ho-hum, just the normal red, green, gold, silver, and some blue chrysanthemum and willow aerial bombs that have been playing for the last 100 years. Yawn. Boring. They don't even have some of the fireworks I remember from the church feasts when I was a kid, like the little golden ones that let out a "sqeeeeeee" as they circled. And no one ever does the final "bang!" at the end that always signified the show was over.

The Boston fireworks, on the other hand, were truly a work of art. Along with the new ones that have appeared in the past few years—ones that look like Saturn, or rings around stars, or cube shapes or star shapes—they had several designs premiere this year. One looked like a jellyfish with a big mushroom cap of color at the top and little gold sparkle "feet." There were others that were big umbrella-type circular shapes that looked like the flowers of Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot), but multicolor—these looked like little jewels and were stunning! The color saturation was also intense on all the different fireworks; at one point it looked like the Charles was on fire. Then the color shifted to an intense blue like that of cobalt glass. It was amazing.

I also hate that they do not identify the pieces of music that play with the fireworks anymore. I could not place the music that played right before Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" near the end; I know it was from a movie soundtrack, but I couldn't remember which.

Pity the coverage wasn't as sterling as the fireworks themselves!

Flourish

» Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Keeping Busy
It's been an interesting ::cough:: five days.

I had my usual Friday off. Was feeling rather tired from the rush at work and slept in then did some housework before going out to spend a few coupons (needed Scotch tape and boring stuff like that). I had a $5 Borders coupon that expired that day, so I purchased the Monk episode guide book (which is also a behind-the-scenes to the series). Enjoyable if you are a Monk fan.

Anyway, I finally got notice from Network Solutions that they were turning loose my domain registration and transferring it to the new registrar. I had already set up webspace for each of the subdomains and had uploaded the files to about half of them. While I was on chat the domain transfer took place, but it was very erratic (domains take about 48 hours to propagate properly). So sometimes I could see the new pages and sometimes I could see the old; I could see half the subdomains and then all of them would be gone. The weirdest thing was that the people I was talking to on chat could see the new site and I was seeing the old one! Anyway, while I could see the sites I was uploading the rest of the files.

So between one thing and another we didn't go to bed until 4 a.m. This would have been okay except we got a phone call about 8:30 the next morning that Hair Day had been rescheduled. James really needed a haircut, so we got up and went. Then I wanted to go to JoAnn because all their Garden Gate material was 70 percent off (actually it was 80% when we got there) and I wanted to pick up a few things for our yard project in the fall. Then more errands and finally we were on our way to the Lawsons for game night/fireworks in the driveway. It was loads of fun, but boy, were we tired!

Made up for it a little on Sunday and had lunch at Ikea as a treat, but still had to finish all the food chores for our party on Tuesday.

Willow has been a nervous wreck since the people next door moved in. They have a Weimaraner and she can hear it barking. I took her out Thursday when I got home from work, the dog let out a big woof, and she clapped her tail between her legs and tried to flee back to the house. By dint of encouraging her and patting her I got her to perform the necessary bodily functions. The Weimaraner obviously was not used to being left alone in the yard and once he got over alert-barking came and sniffed under the neighbors' fence. Willow approached the big nose hesitantly and was within a half inch of sniffing it when she retreated. He was very friendly and I'm sure just lonesome, and would have been friends with her in half-a-minute if she'd let him, but she was just too frightened.

Anyway, I figure the sound and scent of the dog is what's made her so erratic all weekend. (Ironically the neighbors were away all weekend, but she was still sniffing suspiciously for that dog!) Sunday night not only was I having trouble sleeping because of hot flashes, but then Willow started to bark. This was about 3:30. A half hour later she pushed her way through the books in one of the bottom compartments of the Expedit and wandered in our bedroom, where she can't stay because of my allergy. So James led her back to the dining room, checked that she had water and soothed her a bit, and replaced the books and blocked the square with a wastebasket and his computer chair.

She barked again.

And again.

So at work yesterday I was operating on about three hours sleep already. Then almost the moment I sat down my wonky digestive system began acting up. Let's say I didn't worship the porcelain god, but I was getting really close and there were other problems below. The rest goes under "too much information." I could have made it through one or the other, but not both, especially since it was 83°F in my cubicle (they shut the A/C off during the weekend and it has been in the 90s) even with my fan blowing directly on me. I surrendered about 10:30, came home, swallowed more Pepto Bismol, and crawled on the futon in the spare bedroom where it is the coolest and slept for the next five hours.

Later on and this morning James helped me tidy up and we got a few more things, and had folks over this evening for a cookout. Great time: we had people watching Sci-Fi's Twilight Zone marathon in the living room, others chatting and singing old songs and telling stories in the dining room, and the kids watching Narnia in the guest room. Willow was much calmer than she was at the housewarming and I think actually enjoyed herself (especially when Betty saved her a nice piece of steak!).

Oh, yes, and we also had our annual viewing of 1776, interrupted by an absolutely spectacular space shuttle launch!

But boy, we're wiped now.

Flourish

Happy Independence Day!
holiday arrangement

Flourish

» Sunday, July 02, 2006
Oooops...
Anachronism in The Wild, Wild West, "Night of the Whirring Death," set in 1874. One of the little children has a teddy bear, which wasn't created until after 1902, when Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot the little bear that inspired the toy. (There were stuffed bear toys back then, but they didn't look like teddies as we know them; they were realistic depictions of bears, very frequently on a wheeled cart so children could drag them around.)

Of course, someone in this episode had an electric train, too, in a gauge James believes wasn't made until post-WWII.

Artie always did look swell in a cape, though!

Flourish

» Saturday, July 01, 2006
Whew!
It looks like www.flyingdreams.org has successfully made the journey from Yahoo to 1and1.com. After a few hours of wondering if I was completely sane (the website disappeared, appeared, disappeared again and the subdomains were absurdly variable), it now looks like it's stable.

(At least I've crossed all my toes and kissed my St. Jude medal. I don't have a rabbit's foot or a four-leaf clover.)

And I've cancelled the Yahoo service. Majorly cool.

Flourish